Western Tarnished Plant Bug – Lygus Hesperus

Western Tarnished Plant Bug: Appearance, Territory, Damage and Life Cycle

Latin Name: Lygus Hesperus

Appearance: Adult lygus bugs have a noticeable yellow or light green triangle on their backs and are green, straw yellow, or brown in appearance. Nymphs have a light green tint to them. When young, Lygus bug nymphs are light green and resemble aphids; however, they move more faster and have red-tipped antennae. Stink bug harm is frequently confused with fruit lygus insect damage. Lygus bugs can discolor, lump, or depression fruit, but not the pithy, corky, and discolored areas beneath that stink bugs are notorious for.

Hosts Plants: Cotton, strawberries, and seed crops such as alfalfa are all affected by the Western tarnished plant bug. Each year, the virus causes $30 million in damage to cotton plantations in California alone.

Territory: It may be found all throughout the country, including Alaska. From Newfoundland to British Columbia, including the Yukon, it may be found. The western tarnished plant insect, Lygus Hesperus Knight, and the pale legume bug, Lygus Elisus, are more common in western North America.

Damage Insect Cause: Lygus may spread from weeds into gardens and orchards, especially when they dry out. They feed on growing flower buds and fruit, making them a particular concern in beans, strawberries, and orchard crops. Fruit can become blemished and discolored, distorted or twisted, and develop depressions or pustules as a result of these conditions.

Life History and Habits: Adult Lygus bugs spend the winter in plant debris, plant tops, and uncultivated areas around the garden as adults. Their favored overwintering hosts include alfalfa, yellow star thistle, Russian thistle, wild radish, sweet clover, wild mustard, lupine, and vetch. Adult’s mate and lay eggs on a wide array of broadleaf plants when the weather warms up in the spring. Eggs are inserted into plant tissues flush with the tissue surface. They have five nymphal instars and hatch in one to four weeks, depending on temperature. The first four instars take between 2 and 7 days to complete, while the fifth takes between 4 and 10 days. Newly emerged females begin laying eggs after around ten days.